The Makerere University disabled students association ‘MUDISA’ an association for the students with special needs of Makerere university has held a public dialogue under the theme “Creating awareness on the rights of persons with disabilities” held at senate conference hall, Makerere University. Disability is no inability
The main aim has been helping students with disabilities to access their entitlements and knowing their rights. Speaking to her fellows, the minister for students with disabilities Makerere University guild, Ms Asio Grace stressed that MUDISA was initiated in 1987 to defend the rights and freedom of both visually and physically handicapped students of Makerere, she further urged MUDISA members to read hard and get good grades because they are also capable.
“Disability is not inability,we can out compete those normal students”, Said Asio.
In his speech, the executive director Uganda National Association for the Blind (UNAB) Anguyo Richard addressed some of the possible challenges facing students with special needs at higher institution of learning. he said. “Guides for the disabled students are under paid which demotivates them to do their work.”
He gave an example of Makerere university where Guides are paid 280,000/= per semester which means they get 70,000/= per month which is not worth the work they do. He further gave an example of Kyambogo University where the Deans office delays to pay the Guides.
“Assessment of the disabled students for Guides is carried out by unprofessional staff at the university hospital which leaves a number of physically handicapped students without Guides yet the government allocates money for guides to each government sponsored disabled student.” Said Anguyo.
“The University council initiated an independent disability policy for MUDISA but the Dean’s office has failed to implement it.” he added.
Furthermore the Justice Center Uganda representative Mr. Kabiswa Pius informed the students that there is no equality under the law as it is in the constitution when it comes to the rights of the disabled. He gave examples where most courts in Uganda have steers and they do not consider the disabled’s who use wheel chairs hence they end up missing the court proceedings. He also added that political competition and job seeking is very hard for those with special needs.
However, MUDISA members credited Makerere University for providing them with two rooms at the main library for research, toilets for disabled and bailers for visually impaired students.
Lastly in regard to advocating for the rights of person with disabilities and possible remedies under the law in case of violation MUDISA members agreed that they will work hand in hand with legal organizations like Legal Action for Persons with Disabilities (LAPID), Justice Centre Uganda, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) among others to promote the rights of disabled persons not only in Makerere but also in Africa at large.
Written by Takyuka Martin Wasswa